Published: May 7, 2024

Student Gov OfficersIn fall 2022, two education students had a light bulb moment: the CU Boulder School of Education needs a student government that helps organize community-building activities and supports leadership skills among aspiring educators.  

As small as the School of Education is relative to larger departments on campus—with around 400 undergraduate majors and teacher licensure students on average—the founding officers, Emma Hoeschler and Maia Parkin, saw a need for helping connect education students beyond shared cohorts, coursework and field experiences. Hoeschler and Parkin are graduating, and they are proud of the program's goals and accomplishments.

Over the past two years, the entirely student-led organization has grown in membership and participation. Several students have had opportunities to serve executive roles, such co-president, senator, director of finance, or director of student engagement. Student Government Officers have band together to host community-building events, such as Teachers Hit the Trail at Chautauqua last fall, stress relief activities with emotional-support dogs during finals week, an end-of-the-semester Field Day celebrating featuring good-natured lawn competitions this spring, and more.

In addition to light-hearted activities, the School of Education Student Government leaders have taken on important policy advocacy roles at the State Capitol both alongside other CU Boulder Student Government officials and flying solo by providing expert testimony about the experiences and challenges in becoming an educator as state legislators negotiate the terms of legislation that directly supports the state’s student teachers and future educators.

Learn more about CU Boulder School of Education Student Government in the words of four of its founding members: Kendall Goldenson, Emma Hoeschler, Lauren Levey and Maia Parkin is this Q&A.

Why did you and fellow founders decide it was necessary to establish the School of Education Student Government? 

student govt presidentsEmma Hoeschler and Maia Parkin founded the student government in the fall of 2022. Both of us felt that the School of Education should have had a very strong undergraduate community, as it is such a small school, and yet, we had little interaction outside of our immediate cohorts. Since that time, we believe we have accomplished that goal.

The School of Education Student Government works to bridge the gap between CU Boulder’s campus and the larger Boulder community. Given our students’ roles in schools across the state, we believe that the Student Government has the potential to promote lasting relationships and advocacy efforts throughout Boulder and the state of Colorado as a whole. Our organization has grown exponentially over the past two years and has been very successful in engaging with School of Education students and community members. 

Tell us more about your goals, vision, and impactful policy work. 

As the School of Education Student Government, we believe that we are critically positioned as the liaisons between students, faculty, staff, the university, and beyond. School of Education students are constantly impacted by government decisions as future government employees. 

For us, Student Government is a way to strengthen the community in our School of Education through events, advocacy, and resources. This year, we wanted our initiatives to follow just that, and our goals were widely guided by: community building, professional development, political advocacy, and collaboration. 

It's important for student voices to be heard by our local leaders. A lot of the bills on the floor of the Colorado House and Senate right now directly impact us every day, and it's so important that we have our voices and opinions heard. Additionally meeting with local and state leaders is not only amazing networking but provides us with the tools to make and enact real change at CU and Beyond. I (Lauren) have been to the State Capitol three times with student government, twice for advocacy with a larger group and once to testify on behalf of a bill that directly affects a lot of student teachers. We are the future of this state and it's important that we are educated on important student-facing issues and that we make our voices known. 

Speaking of policy advocacy, several CU Boulder Student Government Representatives were at the State Capitol meeting with legislators and the governor earlier this semester. What does a “day in the life” at the State Capitol look like for you, and what kinds of issues did you speak to as education students? 

Maia LaurenThroughout our day at the state capitol, we met with five different state representatives as well as Governor Polis. As a group, we were advocating for multiple different bills including HB24-1018 college textbook sales use tax exemption, HB24-1007 Prohibit residential occupancy limits, SB24-131 prohibiting carrying firearms in sensitive spaces. All of these bills directly impact our lives as students at CU Boulder. Our day was spent talking with the prime sponsors of these bills sharing our personal experiences and asking questions about the process these bills go through and the work that is put into them. As student leaders, it's so important and empowering to have these discussions and advocate for issues that we face every day. 

In addition to our meetings with state legislators, we had many students testify on bills, sharing with a larger audience their real experiences as students at CU and how these bills will help them in their everyday lives. While none of the bills we advocated for on that day were specific to our experience as educators, we as student leaders from the School of Education have been working on support for HB24-1290 Student Educator Stipend Program. This bill is working to expand the program that offers stipend pay to student teachers throughout Colorado. Maia, Emma, Kendall, and I (Lauren) have been working on this bill with representatives from the state since last year and I (Lauren) even got to testify on behalf of it in the previous session. This bill is something we as the student government will continue to advocate for. 

Editor's note: HB24-1290 passed in the Colorado House and Senate in early May hearings that took place after this conversation with Student Government Officers. 

Is there anything else you want us to know?

Students can learn more about the School of Education Student Government on the student government webpage, and follow the @cusoesg instagram account for up-to-date opportunities to engage with the  Student Government leaders during the academic year.

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